Norwich City vs Bournemouth: All or nothing in the battle for survival
Photo: Getty Images

Eddie Howe described it as "massive"Daniel Farke admitted "one victory is not enough".

It doesn't get much bigger than this in terms of the short-term and long-term futures of both Norwich City and Bournemouth. Two clubs that have experienced 14 Premier League seasons between them but haven't met at Carrow Road in the top-flight since September 2015.

Goals have dried up on the south coast

Whilst a relegation struggle has been evolving over the entire season for the Canaries, such a position is a new challenge for Bournemouth. 

The worst form in the league with nine defeats in their last eleven, contributing to their lowest number of points at this stage of a Premier League campaign, Eddie Howe looked a broken man after being battered 3-0 at home by fellow strugglers, Watford, last weekend.

Rumours that the Bournemouth boss had been given the opportunity to step down have been vehemently denied on the south coast but Howe admitted he would have to "consider his position" after the sting from the Hornets. Defeat at Carrow Road could force his hand.

Before a wintry festive spell, Bournemouth were rubbing shoulders with the 'big six', Callum Wilson the toast of many a Fantasy Football team as he staked his claim for Euro 2020 selection. Now he is barely even considered for such a berth.

Without a goal in 31 shots and failing to even hit the target in almost half of their last seven matches, Bournemouth and Wilson's simultaneous problems underpin their sharp demise.

Throwing away opportunities

Norwich have failed to keep a clean sheet at Carrow Road all season but did hold the Cherries to a draw back in October. Without a win in nine league games, and a similar tally of eight at home, the Canaries have continued to alleviate opportunities to pick up points after leading in six of their last Premier League matches.

The first goal on Saturday afternoon could be crucial. Whilst Bournemouth don't score many, their defensive record isn't disastrous considering their position - they have shipped only four more than Arsenal and Spurs. And if Howe's side can muster the opener, they will be bolstered by the fact that Norwich have lost all 14 games when they have conceded first.

Defeat doesn't end the survival hopes of Bournemouth but consecutive losses to the teams that were 19th and 20th when they played them is a run of form that can't continue.

As for Norwich, our Twitter poll suggested that 80% of fans believe that the Canaries are either on their way down already, or certainly will be if they lose this basement battle.

No room for error

Both clubs have blamed injuries for their poor campaigns thus far but options are improved this weekend. The likes of Teemu Pukki, named Finnish Athlete of the Year this week, Josip Drmic, Ben Godfrey, Grant Hanley, Nathan Ake and Aaron Ramsdale are all expected to be available for selection in their respective squads.

Norwich will also be hoping that their duo of new signings can make a difference from the word go. No pressure.

The bottom line is that both clubs need three wins to propel some sort of form into the latter stages of their campaigns. Bournemouth play three of the bottom seven in their next six.

Meanwhile, Norwich's Farke suggest they "need to win seven out of our next 16 games."

They have just nine matches left against clubs in the bottom half of the table. No room for error.

VAVEL Logo